Hiroshima and Nagasaki the untold story
On August 6th 1945, the first Atomic Bomb, “Little Boy,” was dropped on Hiroshima, and three days later on August 9th 1945, the second atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan’s industrial capital. The decision to use the Atomic Bomb against Japan was a poor one considering the damage, the devastation, and the amount of people left dead, injured, or suffering the loss of a family member or a friend, all for the sake of quickly ending the ongoing War. When the Japanese had realized that they were the only ones left in the war, Germany their ally, was already beaten out of the war and all efforts were now concentrated at them, the ...view middle of the document...
The desire of the Emperor for an end to the war never came true until both atomic bombs had been dropped on two of Japan’s key industrial cities, as the Emperor never formally expressed this desire. In the samurai tradition, the Emperor is held at a God-like status and therefore, is considered above politics, so therefore he never intervenes, and was never expected to intervene in political issues, his role was to sanction decisions made by the Cabinet, whether he personally approved of them or not. For this reason, the Emperor never expressed his desire for peace to the Cabinet; it was an unprecedented act (Long).
The retention of the Emperor was crucial to the surrender, as the Japanese believed their Emperor was a god, the heart of the people and the culture (Long). This Japanese belief is a part of a tradition that dates back to 660 B.C. when the first Japanese Emperor, Jimmu, who according to legend was a descendant of the sun god, Amaterasu. So there fore, according to the tradition, the emperor during this time, Hirohito, was said to be a divine being. It is for this reason that the Japanese sued for peace based on the “Atlantic Charter of 1941” that was drafted up by Roosevelt and Churchill on August 4th, 1941. According to the “Atlantic Charter,” every nation could choose its own form of government, thus, if Japan were to surrender based on these terms, they would be able to retain the emperor, their God (Alperovitz). However, when the United States offered a peace agreement based on “Unconditional Surrender,” the Japanese refused this offer as no provisions had been made for their Emperor. As Leon V. Sigal states,
“…one point was clear to senior [United States] officials, regardless of
where they stood on war termination… the critical condition for Japanese
surrender was the assurance that the throne would be preserved”
It turns out that the unconditional surrender clause of the peace agreement was the major factor that hindered Japanese surrender at this point in the war.
According to the surrender agreement, “the authority that deceived the people into embarking on world conquest must be eliminated from Japan” (Long). To the Japanese this sounded like a threat being made to their Emperor. This to the Japanese would almost be like the crucifixion of Jesus in the Christian faith. The Japanese feared that if they surrendered based on these terms, first of all, they would loose their Emperor, and second, it sounds as if the Emperor would be treated as a war criminal. The Japanese officials and people were not willing to take such a risk. According to British Major General Sir Hastings Ismay in his memoirs, “…[I]f they [Japanese] were given to think that a rigid interpretation would be placed on the term ‘unconditional surrender,’ and that their Emperor would be treated as a war criminal, every man, woman, and child
would fight until doomsday. If on the other hand, the terms of surrender were phrased...